Current Champs prove old isn't old anymore!

15.03.05 - By Darrell La Montre: I recall watching a fight on HBO back when George Foreman was the expert commentator, and Arthur Mercante Sr. was still active as a referee. Earlier in the telecast Jim Lampley had commented that Mercante had just turned eighty. Subsequent to that revelation, while observing Mercante’s age defying alertness, Foreman said (and I’m paraphrasing) “Look at that eighty year old ref --he’s so alert and lively!! Old ain’t old anymore”. The same can be said of many of today’s best fighters.

In 2005, old really isn’t old anymore. It used to be that once a fighter reached the age of 30, he was widely considered to be “shot”, “washed-up”, a “has-been”, etc. Thanks to modern technology, nutrition, training, and advancements in medicine, today’s 30 is yesterday’s 25.

Fighters back in the day used to fight much more frequently. It was very common for a boxer to fight several times a month back in the early to mid 20th century. This of course was a major contributing factor towards fighters becoming washed up by the age of 30 (along with archaic training methods, lack of nutritional knowledge, and less advanced medicine). In addition, fighters back then were simply less healthier than they are now. Smoking and drinking were much more prevalent among fighters during that time than it is now (excluding Ricardo Mayorga).

Our bodies are basically vehicles, and much like your car, if you maintain it to the best of your ability, you can get a decent amount of mileage out of it. Conversely, if you don’t maintain it, and have bad habits (engaging in smoking, drinking, drugs, partying, etc). it will break down. Let’s take Bernard Hopkins for instance. Here’s a man who just turned 40, who has no vices, gets 8 hours sleep every night, is always in shape, and has taken very little abuse in the ring. He’s also the Undisputed Middleweight Champion of the world, and has been champion for 10 years. Coincidence? I think not. Hopkins is the quintessence of preservation. To be forty years old, and considered the best fighter in the world pound for pound is nothing short of amazing!!

There’s never been a time in the history of boxing where there have been this many champions above the age of thirty. Let’s go through the divisions from 130lbs to Heavyweight:

The 130lb main champion is: Marco Antonio Barrera (age 31)

The 135lb main champions are: Jose Luis Castillo (age 31) and Diego Corrales (age 27)

The 140lb main champion is: Kostya Tszyu (age 35)

The 147lb Undisputed Champ is Zab Judah (age 27)

The 154lb main champion is: Winky Wright (age 33)

The 160lb Undisputed Champ is Hopkins (age 40)

The 168lb main champion is: Joe Calzaghe (age 32)

The 175lb main champion is: Glen Johnson (age 36)

The two champs at 200lbs are: Wayne Braithwaite (age 29) and

Jean-Marc Mormeck: (age 32)

The three champs at Heavyweight are: Vitali Klitchsko (age 33), Chris Byrd (age 34) and John Ruiz (age 33)

As you can see, out of the fourteen champions listed above only three are under the age of 30! Proof that this is a new time. No longer are the 30’s considered to be the “twilight” of a fighter’s career. Believe it or not, many fighters are still fairly green at the age of 30. As far as being considered green at 40, well nobody’s calling Hopkins green – but they aren’t exactly calling him shot either. Foreman was right: “Old ain’t old anymore”.

Article posted on 15.03.2005

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